Hui-Neng - Anecdote

The Truth and the Words

Hui Neng
Hui Neng frees the fish
An educated monk asked Hui Neng, the sixth patriarch of Zen, for hints concernig some holly scriptures:

Monk: Please explain to me these scriptures.

Hui Neng: Sorry, but I can't read the words. Read to me these scriptures and I will be able to understand them.

Monk: How can you understand the scriptures if you cannot read the words?

Hui Neng : The truth and the words are two different things. The words can be compared with a finger. We can show the moon with a finger, but the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon means to look over the finger. The words are like a finger pointing towards the truth. Generally speaking, we see only the finger. The truth abide over the finger.

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